How to shop ethically for your kids without breaking the bank
Two years ago, I was pregnant with my son and just beginning to navigate the world of ethical shopping practices. This meant that not only was I learning about all the baby gear I needed, I was also trying to figure out how I could make sure these products were fairly made. It was important to me that the clothes and toys I provided for my child didn’t come at the expense of someone else, but I felt completely at a loss as to how to do this and still stick to any kind of a budget. It’s taken a little work, and I’m still learning, but I’ve picked up a few tips in these last couple of years that have helped me make sure my purchases are both worker and budget friendly.
The number one thing I would go back and tell myself two years ago is to buy less — especially when it comes to clothes and toys. The sheer amount of gifts we’ve gotten, as well as the literal (yes, literal) truckloads of hand-me-downs from friends and family has rendered many of my purchases completely unnecessary. Besides that, my son has grown out of his clothes too quickly to require a full wardrobe of them, and he doesn’t play with half the toys he has. Buying less frees up my wallet for products that are perhaps a bit pricier, but ones that I can purchase with a clean conscience.
Shopping secondhand takes demand out of the market for quick and cheap goods that are often produced through slave labor; it’s one of the easiest ways to shop ethically on a budget! Thrift stores and garage sales stress me out, so children’s consignment sales and resale apps are my favorite places to find everything I need for my son.
I’ve found several annual children’s consignment events in my area (you can find consignment sales near you here). These sales accept products in great condition and sort them ahead of time, so I get high-quality items at a great price without having to dig around. I also love shopping ethically from the comfort of my own couch on sites and apps like ThredUp and Mercari.
Here’s my little guy modeling our latest consignment sale finds. The shirt and pants were both new with tags and cost a grand total of $6.50!
I found out about the DoneGood browser extension a few months ago and it has completely changed the way I shop! With DoneGood, simply Google what you are looking for, and the browser extension will recommend ethical shops and sites that sell that type of product. The money-saving part is that DoneGood usually offers promo codes for sites that are “DoneGood Approved.”
I did a quick search and DoneGood not only suggested several sites but offered promo codes for all of them!
Register with Baby List.
If you’re expecting a little one and want to point your friends and family toward fairly-made gifts, a Baby List registry is the way to go! With Baby List, you can add any item from any site to your registry, and it’s as easy as clicking a link on your favorites bar. That means you can add items from any of your favorite ethical sites and rack up gifts from family and friends with a clean conscience! As easy as it is, I’m planning on using Baby List in the future simply as a wish list for my son when relatives ask for gift ideas.
Here’s a mock Baby List registry that I made with fun items from some of my favorite sites.
find your favorites.
When consignment sales just don’t cut it, I’ve found a few places I like to shop for my son that don’t break the bank. There are so many ethical shops and brands out there (you can find several on our brand partners page); I am trying out new ones all the time! So far, I personally have bought and been happy with products from Uncommon Goods, Ten Thousand Villages, Mini + Meep, Krochet Kids, and Burt’s Bees Baby. These sites are a great place to start as you shop for kids’ clothes, toys, decor, and gear.
One of my son’s Christmas presents last year was this adorable onesie from Mini + Meep.
Shopping ethically for kids is a little extra work, but it doesn’t have to kill your budget! With the tips above and a little research on the front end, you’ve got what it takes to make sure your family is living fair.
About the Author
Erin Flippin King is a freelance writer and editor, loving life in Jonesboro, AR with her husband, Aaron (same name, cute right?) and son, Sam. Erin enjoys dancing like a fool, joking at wildly inappropriate times, spending time in the sunshine, and Dr. Pepper. She recently earned her master's degree in Biblical Studies and Hebrew and shares her writing at erinflippinking.com.